Tom Cruise, who recently celebrated his 61st birthday, has once again astounded the world with a death-defying stunt in the latest installment of the Mission Impossible film series, hailed as the “biggest and most perilous stunt in cinema history.”
Paramount Pictures has offered a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the elaborate planning and execution of this daring sequence in the seventh entry of the Mission Impossible franchise, titled “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One.”
Known for his fearless dedication to performing his own stunts, Tom Cruise continues to push the envelope. In a 10-minute video released by Paramount in December, the superstar left audiences awestruck as he drove a motorcycle off the edge of a cliff, free-fell from the sky, dismounted the bike mid-air, and parachuted into a Norwegian valley.
Director Christopher McQuarrie, in the video, states, “This is far and away the most dangerous thing we’ve ever attempted. We’ve been working on this for years.”
McQuarrie explains that Tom Cruise played a hands-on role in planning the stunt, stating, “So Tom put together this master plan to coordinate all of these experts in each of the particular disciplines involved to make this whole thing happen.”
The stunt demanded extensive training and preparation, including over 13,000 motorcycle jumps and 500 skydives. Although Cruise has performed many daring stunts throughout the Mission Impossible series, this film surpasses them all, with some crew members expressing concerns that they might lose Tom Cruise to these death-defying feats.
Co-star Simon Pegg voiced these fears in an interview with Deadline at the premiere, stating, “Tom is jumping off cliffs on a motorbike; he’s hanging off trains—it’s genuinely dangerous stuff.”
In preparation for the treacherous stunt, Tom Cruise underwent rigorous training in both BASE jumping and motocross. A motocross track was built specifically for the film, where Cruise practiced jumping 80ft tabletops a staggering 13,000 times during his training.
In the video, Cruise shares his dedication: “I have to get so good at this that there’s just no way that I miss my marks. You train and drill every little aspect over and over and over and over again.”
Wade Eastwood, the stunt coordinator, revealed that Cruise was doing over 30 jumps a day and had become “just a machine.” To recreate the jump for the film, the crew constructed a replica ramp and quarry filled with cardboard boxes to catch the motorcycle. This setup was built in England to mimic the jump filmed in Hellesylt, Norway, in 2020.
McQuarrie explained the need to “consistently predict where Tom was going to be in three-dimensional space” while designing the ramps and choreographing Cruise’s jumps.
To aid in this planning, a GPS chip recorded Cruise’s jumps, speed, and other factors like crosswinds and headwinds, providing valuable data for precise camera and drone placement.
Cruise emphasized that the key to the stunt was hitting specific speeds and maintaining consistency. With no speedometer, he relied on the sound and feel of the bike. Upon departing the bike, he used the wind hitting him, cupping his chest to generate lift.
Miles Daisher, the BASE jumping coach for the film, marveled at Cruise’s abilities, stating, “Tom Cruise is an amazing individual. You tell him something, and he just locks in. His sense of spatial awareness is unmatched.”
This breathtaking stunt was just one of many performed by Cruise on the set of the latest Mission Impossible film, slated for release on July 12. Cruise has expressed his love for performing such stunts and shows no signs of retiring from the screen anytime soon.
In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he mentioned his inspiration from Harrison Ford, who continues to act at the age of 80, saying, “I hope to keep making Mission Impossible films until I’m his age.”